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There are a number of other Incan ruins and lovely old towns nearby worth visiting, but nothing matches the surreal beauty of Machu Picchu perched atop the mountain. Take loads of photos, beat the crowds and enjoy your private tour with local tour guides who will show you the most spectacular archaeological site in South America and discover also the Inca bridge and many other hidden paths within the spectacular sanctuary.
There are lots of tours you can choose from one full day Machu Picchu tour by train, Machu Picchu with one over night, Sacred Valley with Machu Picchu tour to the 2 day Inca trail with Machu Picchu and more check out our list of the most recommended trips to Machu Picchu. To choose just click on the image.
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Complete Guide to Visit Machu Picchu
Best Ways to Get to Machu Picchu
There are many ways to get to Machu Picchu from Cusco. You may have already heard that you can visit Machu Picchu by train, by bus or even on foot, any of these 3 options will be worthwhile, although most visitors say it is the journey not the destination but what if the destination is better than the journey?
Arriving at one of the world’s oldest cities is unique and could become the best experience. It is highly important which of these options you choose to visit Machu Picchu.
Machu Picchu by Train
The easiest and fastest way to get from Cusco to Aguas Calientes, the town at the bottom of Machu Picchu, is by taking the Machu Picchu train. There are three types of train services that go to Aguas Calientes: Expedition, Vistadom and Belmond Hiram Bingham.
The trip takes about 1.5 hours and the price varies throughout the year for each option.
Machu Picchu by Bus
This is a good option for budget travellers and you can do it on your own, since you only need to take a bus from Cusco to Santa Teresa, the trip takes 5 to 6 hours. this trip has a 2 hour walk from the town of Hidroeléctrica to finally the town of Aguas Calientes. This option could be the best of all since it is quite cheap. The risk to have an accident on this route is high especially if you do it during the rainy season.
Tour to Machu Picchu on Foot
Most people opt for the classical way to Machu Picchu: train ride until Aguas Calientes. However hiking along the sacred road of the Incas and thus seeing the sunrise over Machu Picchu is by far the best option for most travellers.
Although booking it is not so easy since for the classic 4 day trail the spaces are limited to only 500 people per day this reduces the possibility that everyone will have the opportunity to do so and at the same time requires tourists to book far in advance. But wait, the classic Inca Trail is not the only option, Cusco offers more than 10 alternate treks to get to Machu Picchu which you can also choose and the goods news is that you don’t need to book in advance.
Here’s a list of these alternate Inca Trails:
- Lares trek 4d/3n
- Salkantay Trek 5d/4n
- Huchuyqosqo Trek 4d/3n
- Vilcabamba Trek 5d/4n
- Inca Jungle Trek 4d/3n
- Cachicata Trek 4d/3n
The Spanish never found Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu is always referred to as (the lost city of the Incas) and this is exactly because it is believed that the Spanish never arrived in it, if this had been the case today we would not only be visiting Machu Pichcu but also a catholic church.
How was Machu Picchu built?
Machu Picchu has been visited by archaeologists, scientists, experts but even so it was difficult for them to know the reason why the Incas decided to build a city on top of a mountain which, by the way, has a geological fault
The most well-known theory is that Machu Picchu was built 600 years ago by the Incas, but if we carefully observe we will realize that there are more than 10 construction styles in Machu Picchu, many of those seem to date back more than 5000 years. The building skills required to make it are simply amazing; This makes us believe that Machu Picchu was initially inhabited by civilizations before the Incas which would have built the temples with gigantic blocks which would not have been moved by only men and put one on top of the other without any type of adhesive to join them. We believe that there is still much to discover and that you deserve to know the truth, we invite you to explore Machu Picchu with one of our local guides and thus clarify your doubts.
The Sun Temple
Experts state that this temple was built a long time ago, it is believed that the original purpose of the temple was to fix the specific seasons and days during the year that way they could know the different important dates that helped the man to have a better control of the time, the temple has 2 windows which are oriented to the sunrise, both to the direction of the sun’s gate during the summer solstice and to the mountain known as the Yanantin in the winter solstice. Please note that due to visiting restrictions, the sun temple is only visited between 1pm and 4pm.
The Temple of the Condor
Visit the temple of the condor in Machu Picchu, the temple of the condor consists of a large granite rock, believe it or not, it is possible to see the condor opening its wings and preparing to fly. The famous condor temple was a temple which served to worship the world of the gods according to Andean philosophy, the condor would unite the two worlds, he was in charge of taking the offerings to the gods. This temple can only be visited from 10 am to 1 pm.
The Hitching Post of the Sun
It is a polygon shaped lithic element carved in a single piece; its different sides cast shadows, in relation to the movement of the sun and the different seasons of the year. The rock has a table at the top, probably to place the offerings. The whole sculpture is dedicated to the sunrise. It is believed Inca astronomers were able to tell the solstices when using the angles of this pillar, and measure the climate and the weather changes.
The 3 Window Temple
The 3 window temple is located exactly next to the plaza pricipal which has an orientation towards the Machupicchu mountain, this temple with 3 windows must have been a very important temple for its quality of construction, but it is not yet known what the real purpose of this temple was, although scholars suggest that this temple was not built in Inca times but much earlier.
When you visit it you will notice that the construction style of this temple is enormous, we could call them megalithic constructions, each boulder must weigh between 80 to 100 tons. It is impossible to believe that they were placed with such precision without the help of any kind of machine, this makes us think that Machu Picchu, Ollantaytambo, Pisac and Sacsayhuaman were built by giants or an advanced civilization that simply vanished with the arrival of the Incas.
Inca bridge, was without a doubt one of the secret entrances in the Inca times which was connected to Vilcabamba, this bridge was carefully built following the shape of the mountain and its access was restricted since only soldiers who entered Machu Picchu with messages from Cusco city could use it.